There is no point beating about the bush – even by the low standards of recent performances, yesterday’s match between Scotland and Canada made grim viewing.
The 1-1 draw against the team ranked 117th world was yet another inauspicious day for a Scotland team that has already had more than its fair share of disappointment.
The familiar refrain of “it’s just a friendly” will ring as hollow as ever if Scotland doubtless in their competitive fixture against Slovenia this Sunday.
The Slovenians remain unbeaten in their quest to go to the World Cup in Russia and Scotland’s chances of overhauling them in second place remain slim at best.
It’s hard to rank an out-of-competition game as one of Scotland’s worst, given our most striking humiliations have come in tournaments, or in the qualifying for them.
So we’ve trawled the records to see where last night’s debacle ranks in terms of Scotland’s previous friendly results.
Scotland 0 USA 0 – November 2013
It might seem harsh, given the context of the result at the time, but this was a turgid watch that halted some of the momentum that Strachan currently had.
Given the result was well over three years ago, it is also disheartening to see the early signs of Strachan’s misguided loyalty to a number of regular starters.
Gordon Greer, Grant Hanley, Alan Hutton, Steven Fletcher, and Barry Bannan have all been criticised for their performances under Strachan, and they all featured in this dull draw.
It was also an early warning sign that the Scots improvements under Strachan had potential to turn in these kind of uninspiring, lacklustre performances.
USA 5 Scotland 1 – May 2012
If there were any positives from the goalless draw at home to the United States, it was that it was an improvement on the shellacking the Americans had dealt out 18 months prior.
An experimental team under Craig Levein wilted in the Florida sun, a reminder of how far we had to go as yet another major tournament (Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland) loomed without Scottish involvement.
Landon Donovan helped himself to a hat-trick as the then first-choice pairing of Gary Caldwell and Andy Webster floundered after the domestic season had ended.
It was another red flag that Craig Levein’s Scotland project was doomed to failure as the now Hearts Director of Football couldn’t get anything out of his players.
Wales 3 Scotland 0 – November 2009
The Levein era, of course, was ushered in following the sacking of George Burley after this 3-0 humbling at the hands of Wales.
Aaron Ramsey, now the Wales captain but then just 18, was the hero as Scotland were put to the sword in Cardiff.
The Arsenal midfielder, along with his contemporary Gareth Bale, still serves as a reminder that Scotland haven’t produced a truly world-class player since the days of Dalglish and Souness.
Despite the obligatory post-match vote of confidence, former Hearts manager Burley was relieved of his duties shortly after the game.
Scotland 0 Hungary 3 – August 2004
Looking back on the reign of Berti Vogts now is to open a can of worms – the German brought through a number of talented youngsters, and was trying to qualify as a slew of new footballing nations started to emerge.
A teenage David Marshall made his debut as Scotland were handily beaten by an unremarkable Hungary side.
Then SPL mainstays like Stevie Crawford and Scott Severin were among the players involved as the defeat led to the departure of Vogts, citing abuse by fans.
Wales 4 Scotland 0 – February 2004
Poor results in the post tournament lull of 2004 such as the Hungary game were what sparked Vogts’ departure.
Among an awful run of friendly results that saw Scotland go nearly two years without a win, was yet another grim result in Cardiff.
Rob Earnshaw put himself into pub quiz folklore, he is the only player to have scored a hat-trick in the Premier League, the three tiers of the Football League, the League Cup, the FA Cup, and for his country.
That hat-trick came against a Scotland side that included Jackie McNamara, Colin Caameron and Paul Dickov.
France 5 Scotland 0
There’s no shame in losing to the then World and European champions, as France were, but that didn’t make this thrashing any less painful.
Vogts’ first game in charge was a high-profile one, with Scotland aiming to beat the ebullient French in their own backyard.
A litany of household names, including Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly and Zinedine Zidane simply destroyed Scotland, who struggled to get even a kick of the ball.
Perhaps what makes this grim result so memorable is because of Scotland’s sweet revenge in a pair of victories in the Euro 2008 qualification campaign.
David Trezequet’s mocking “5-0” celebration was brought back to haunt him when the man he teased, Gary Caldwell, fired Scotland to one of the best results in our history, a 1-0 win over France at Hampden.